Mum’s return to work -Tailor Maid
A positive return to work Children are on their way back to school and the summer holidays are about to become a distant memory. My project during the last week has been creating a scrap book with ticket, photos and memorabilia from the last couple of months; a heart warming reminder of some very special experiences together as a family. It’s not surprising then that many of us go into September with the post-holiday blues. I remember as a child I’d have them going back to school and it’s no different for many adults. Even if we don’t have the blues, it often takes a bit of time to reconnect with what needs to be done at work and remember where we left off.
In the manufacturing industry, many organisations work hard to remind people about health and safety during the first week of September because historically that’s when most accidents have happened. Whether you manage others, or want to better manage yourself to get through the next few weeks, here’s my tips to re-connect and make September the high point of your year: Surround yourself with the energy givers, not zappers Be intentional about spending time with the people that give you energy and make you feel positive. Who are the colleagues and people in your network that inspire you? Fill your diary with meetings and catch-ups with the people and projects that will make you feel good about being back at work – and minimise the time spent with those people that drain you. If you’ve got the post-holiday blues, the chances are you’re not the only one, so make yourself an energy ‘giver’ and not a zapper. Re-clarify priorities Ignore the overflowing inbox and start by re-clarifying the big priorities for September. Be clear about what you’re going to have achieved by the end of the month and what personal growth and value you’ll have gained.
If you manage others, schedule a team meeting as soon as possible. Give enough time on the agenda to look back and celebrate how far you’ve come this year. Then re-state the priorities for the coming three months and be sure everyone remembers ‘why’ each one is so critical – what’s it all adding up to? Do your people have objectives? Take the opportunity to review them and be sure they are still appropriate and top-of-mind. Share reflections from the summer Whether you managed a break, had a summer reading more books or whether you’ve had weeks of juggling childcare, the chances are something was different during the summer. Take time out to reflect; what did you learn, who did you meet that you want to stay connected with, what inspiration did you gather? It’s all too easy to feel inspired as you have a social conversation with someone over the dinner table in the sun, but forget about it once you’re back in the office. Ask your colleagues what reflections they had over the summer and engage in a different level of conversation. If you are a manager, you might be surprised what you learn about what makes the ‘heart beat’ of those around you – insight you can use to best engage and connect with them. Even fiction can give inspiration and insight.
I loved a novel that a friend leant me and at the end, found myself having been reminded of the fact our actions have impact on others beyond just ourselves. Change your environment Give yourself a lift by changing your working environment a little. Add a new plant, paint a wall, turn your chair to face a different direction. Have your meetings with others standing up or walk with colleagues to grab a coffee more often. Make a change that feels good and energising. Give the gift of time We can all help others to re-engage at work by giving each other the most special gift of all; time. This is particularly key if you manage others. Schedule catch-up sessions with every one of your people within the next week. Think about what will remind them that they are valued. Maybe it’s saying thank you for keeping a project going while others were out or simply reminding them that you value their attitude and skills as part of your team. Do that before you get into the task conversations, not as an add-on at the end.
Remind yourself what reward and recognition tools exist. I have a client who has chocolate bars available for colleagues to give each other as a thank you. Some are just chocolate – others also have duvet days and cinema tickets inside. Find out what’s available, but don’t let that be a substitute for the gift of time. Here’s to beating the post holiday blues and re-engaging with passion for a September full of high performance. *Jane Sparrow runs a management and leadership consultancy and is author of The Culture Builders. Check out Jane’s blog here – it has tips and advice for managers and her website has tools, including video footage of leadership role models.